If you like playing hide-and-seek with cafes, you'll love trying to find Sun Moth Canteen and Bar. It's a 90-seater nugget slithered between the stream of apartments that make up Niagara Lane. So if you don't feel like dealing with Hardware Lane waiters trying to pull you into their restaurants, walk one lane down.
Sleekness and simplicity in design is what makes Sun Moth. Patrons sit on long tan-timbered table surrounded by clean white walls, and tall windows shine light on overflowing pot plants that hang from the ceiling.
You could almost mistake Sun Moth for a design studio or a library. The free wi-fi has drawn a strong presence of laptops, and people often use it as a study or workspace. Calm vibes paired with good coffee (beans are by Small Batch) is seemingly enough to fuel productivity.
The menu is quite limited, but instead of sooking, we should be quite grateful. After all, the last thing an indecisive diner needs is another 16 breakfast options to confuse them. On the rare occasion that you are in the city for breakfast, the sticky black rice pudding with coconut and mango ($13) is a winner. For something simpler, eggs come whichever way you fancy them.
If you have a short lunch break, the eggplant parmagiana ($14) and white bean leek stew with rosemary ($17) are two speedy options. And, among the infinite amount of grain salads in Melbourne, here’s a great one. The kale and quinoa salad with spiced hummus and toasted almonds ($13) is also a reliable midday revitaliser.
But more than often, food isn’t enough to get you through the day. And it's at this point you wonder if the cafe is licensed or not. It is. A selection of local and draughts and ales are on tap, and tequila is at your disposal (for really big days). Natural wine options from Australia and beyond are on offer, ready to be paired with charcuterie boards. Don't leave the eating too late though — the kitchen stops serving at 9.30pm.
Sun Moth Canteen holds all the ingredients for a quick or three-hour catch up. It's a place you can appreciate a small dose of serenity, which is scarce in an often frantic city.